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    Mushtaq Ahmed in Pak bowling coach fray: sources

    Lahore: Former legspinner Mushtaq Ahmed's name has cropped up as one of the leading candidates to be the bowling coach of the national team before the tour to Sri Lanka. According to sources, Mushtaq who until this week was working with the England team in Sri Lanka as their bowling consultant has already held two meetings with the PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf. "Mushtaq has met with the Board chairman and discussed the possibility of taking over as bowling coach and working with head coach, Dav Whatmore," sources said.

    Mushtaq, who was a member of Pakistan's 1992 World Cup winning squad, has spent the last few years obtaining coaching credentials and working as a professional coach in England. "Many officials in the board and some senior members of the Pakistan team are impressed with the experience Mushtaq has obtained while working in England and also as a bowling consultant with the England team in the last two three years," sources said.

    Mushtaq worked as a bowling coach for a short while with the Pakistan team three years back but left to take up a more lucrative offer with the ECB. The source said it was not confirmed whether Mushtaq had also applied for the bowling coach position to the PCB coaching committee which had advertised the post recently and given a March 23 deadline for interested candidates to send in their CVs. "What I know is that three former Pakistan bowlers, Mohammad Akram, Shahid Mahboob and Jalaluddin have also applied to the coaching committee which is headed by Intikhab Alam," sources said.

    He pointed out that both Akram and Mahboob were based in England. The coaching committee that also includes former Test captain Zaheer Abbas held its first meeting to assess the applications it had received in Lahore on Saturday after which Alam told reporters that the bowling coach would be picked before the Sri Lankan tour, starting late May. "It was the first meeting of the committee in which 11 candidates, including some foreigners, submitted their profiles, but the committee will take a decision on merit after examining potential of each and every candidate," he said. "In the first phase, the committee will shortlist the coaches and then pick the best one, hopefully before the team's departure to Sri Lanka."

    The former Test captain and coach said six applications were filed by local candidates while the rest were foreigners but refused to disclose the name of the foreigners. Alam also said that if the board wanted it could appoint a candidate outside the list received by the coaching committee as bowling coach.